Hemp Law


The California Industrial Hemp Farming Act

Below are direct citations from SB 566.  This act was chartered in 2013 after being signed into law by the Governor. This Act anticipates the farming and seed production of industrial hemp.  We are once again waiting on the federal government’s blessing before people can actually apply with the state to grow hemp.  We believe that day is closer as the legalization of marijuana is likely in November 2018.

“This act shall not become operative unless authorized under federal law.”

(b) If this act becomes operative, the Attorney General shall issue an opinion on the extent of that authorization under federal law and California law, the operative date of those provisions, and whether federal law imposes any limitations that are inconsistent with the provisions of this act. The Attorney General should complete the opinion as soon as possible or within four months of authorization under federal law.

(c) The Attorney General shall post the opinion described in subdivision (b) on the office of the Attorney General’s Internet Web site.

SECTION 1. This act shall be known, and may be cited, as the California Industrial Hemp Farming Act.

SEC. 2. The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:

(a) Industrial hemp is an agricultural crop produced in at least 30 nations, including Canada, Great Britain, France, Germany, Romania, Australia, and China, and is used by industry to produce thousands of products, including paper, textiles, food, oils, automotive parts, and personal care products.

(b) The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has ruled in Hemp Industries Association v. Drug Enforcement Administration, (9th Cir. 2004) 357 F.3d 1012, that the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970 (21 U.S.C. Sec. 812(b)) explicitly excludes non-psychoactive hemp from the definition of marijuana, and the federal government has declined to appeal that decision.

(c) The federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970 specifies the findings to which the government must attest in order to classify a substance as a schedule I drug and those findings include that the substance has a high potential for abuse, has no accepted medical use, and has a lack of accepted safety for use, none of which apply to industrial hemp.

(d) According to estimates by the Hemp Industries Association, sales of industrial hemp products in the United States have grown steadily since 1990 to more than $500 million annually in 2012.

(e) California manufacturers of hemp products currently import from around the world tens of thousands of acres’ worth of hemp seed, oil, and fiber products that could be produced by California farmers at a more competitive price, and the intermediate processing of hemp seed, oil, food ingredients, and fiber could create jobs in close proximity to the fields of cultivation.

(f) In 1999, the Assembly passed House Resolution 32, which resolved that “the domestic production of industrial hemp can help protect California’s environment, contribute to the growth of the state economy, and be regulated in a manner that will not interfere with the enforcement of marijuana laws.”

(g) Assessment of the economic benefits of industrial hemp cultivation and determination of possible impacts on the enforcement of laws prohibiting illicit marijuana cultivation are important concerns.

(h) It is the intent of the Legislature that law enforcement not be burdened with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) testing of industrial hemp crops when cultivation is in compliance with Section 11018.5 of the Health and Safety Code; therefore, the cultivation of industrial hemp shall be tightly controlled pursuant to Division 24 (commencing with Section 81000) of the Food and Agricultural Code, as added by Section 4 of this bill, which includes provisions consistent with all of the following:

(1) Farmers, not including established agricultural research institutions or registered seed breeders, shall not cultivate industrial hemp in acreages smaller than five acres at the same time, and no acreage of industrial hemp shall be comprised of plots smaller than one acre. Ornamental and clandestine cultivation is expressly prohibited, and the pruning and tending of individual industrial hemp plants are prohibited except when those plants are grown by an established agricultural research institution or when necessary to perform THC testing.

(2) Farmers are required, before harvest, to obtain a laboratory test report from a federally registered laboratory documenting that the THC content of their crop is within the legal limit and farmers shall destroy crops that fail the THC test.

(3) Farmers shall retain an original copy of the THC test report for the planting seed and the harvested crop for two years, make original copies available to law enforcement officials upon request, and are required to provide an original copy to each person purchasing, transporting, or otherwise obtaining the fiber, oil, cake, or seed of the plant from the farmer.

(4) Although they have no psychoactive effect, any resin, flowering tops, or leaves of the industrial hemp plant that are removed from the lawful field of cultivation shall be, by definition, marijuana and subject to prosecution. Farmers should take care to ensure that all flowering tops and leaves remain in the lawful field of cultivation after the harvest of seed or fiber, and the possession of those tops and leaves outside of the field of cultivation is prohibited. There is no lawful reason to harvest, collect, or process the flowering tops of industrial hemp.

(5) In addition to plant structure, height, and method of planting, the horticultural tending of cannabis plants indicates to law enforcement that it is marijuana and not industrial hemp. Signs of horticultural tending include, but are not limited to, pathways or rows within the field that provide access to each plant, the pruning of individual plants, or the culling of male plants from the field.


THE FEDERAL FARM ACT 7 U.S. Code § 5940 is the Federal Law Related to Hemp.  It excludes hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, however hemp must be cultivated pursuant to a State Research Program.

7 U.S. Code § 5940

(a)In general, Notwithstanding the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 801 et seq.), chapter 81 of title 41, or any other Federal law, an institution of higher education (as defined in section 1001 of title 20) or a State department of agriculture may grow or cultivate industrial hemp if—

(1) the industrial hemp is grown or cultivated for purposes of research conducted under an agricultural pilot program or other agricultural or academic research; and

(2) the growing or cultivating of industrial hemp is allowed under the laws of the State in which such institution of higher education or State department of agriculture is located and such research occurs.

(b) Definitions In this section:

(1) Agricultural pilot program. The term “agricultural pilot program” means a pilot program to study the growth, cultivation, or marketing of industrial hemp—

(A) in States that permit the growth or cultivation of industrial hemp under the laws of the State; and

(B) in a manner that—

(i) ensures that only institutions of higher education and State departments of agriculture are used to grow or cultivate industrial hemp;

(ii) requires that sites used for growing or cultivating industrial hemp in a State be certified by, and registered with, the State department of agriculture; and

(iii) authorizes State departments of agriculture to promulgate regulations to carry out the pilot program in the States in accordance with the purposes of this section.

(2) Industrial hemp

The term “industrial hemp” means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of such plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.

(3 )State department of agriculture

The term “State department of agriculture” means the agency, commission, or department of a State government responsible for agriculture within the State.

(Pub. L. 113–79, title VII, § 7606, Feb. 7, 2014, 128 Stat. 912; Pub. L. 114–95, title IX, § 9215(f), Dec. 10, 2015, 129 Stat. 2166.)

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